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Taiwan's Tainan reports first COVID hospital infection

Family COVID cluster infection in Tainan's Yanshui District rises to 11 cases

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Investigators inspecting hospital. (Tainan City Government photo)

Investigators inspecting hospital. (Tainan City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tainan on Wednesday (March 9) reported its first case of COVID being transmitted within a hospital, bringing a local cluster infection to 11 cases.

Tainan City is reporting two new confirmed COVID cases at a hospital in Xinying District, and officials believe that one of the cases transmitted the virus to the other while in the hospital. The cases are deemed to be tied to a cluster infection that started with a family in Tainan City's Yanshui District.

The cluster is thought to have started with case No. 20,974, who took a bus from Yuanshui District to a hospital in Xinying District several times to undergo rehabilitation. Among eight people who were on the same bus, four tested positive for COVID on Tuesday (March 8).

Of those four positive cases, two were patients who went to the hospital for rehabilitation, one was accompanying a patient, and one was a foreign caregiver. Combining Tuesday's four cases, Wednesday's two cases, and five previously reported cases, the total number of infections tied to the Yanshui District cluster infection has risen to 11.

The hospital is considered a small-to-medium-sized facility, but it includes a nursing home and a dialysis ward. There are a large number of patients that enter on weekdays and the rehabilitation room is in the basement, which can be accessed separately from the rest of the hospital.

Personnel familiar with rehabilitation facilities told UDN, although the patients wear masks when entering the hospital, during the rehabilitation process, there will be situations when equipment is shared and the possibility of contact with infected surfaces is high. They stressed that infection can still occur even when wearing a mask.

In addition, the bus that transports rehabilitation patients not only takes passengers to the hospital involved in the outbreak but other hospitals as well. The Tainan City Government Public Health bureau is currently investigating possible contacts of the patients and the foreign caregiver.

Taiwan's Tainan reports first COVID hospital infection
Investigators inspecting hospital ventilation duct. (Tainan City Government photo)